Tagged: “university students”

Dog Walking with Patita Amiga

Dog Walking with Patita Amiga

During the past few weeks, we’ve initiated a new volunteer opportunity that both peeps and doggies enjoy: Dog-walking on the Boardwalk and beach.

On certain Sundays of the month, we are teaming up with Patita Amiga, a student-run organization based in the Rio Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico. We were approached by the group because they wanted to take part in helping other animal welfare organizations in the community, and strive to create conscientiousness on the proper way to care for pets and protect animals.

Now, we coordinate with around 8 to 15 students, who walk the dogs for about an hour and a half. This volunteer activity is great exercise and gets the students away from the their desks and the computer:

And the dogs love it! At first, some are uncomfortable or scared. For many, it is their first time being on a leash and for others, it is their first time walking outside the shelter. After 2 or 3 outings, most of them are walking like they’ve been doing it for years. Those that have grown up in the shelter and are still less than a year old, take more time, but it is such a great sight to see them finally let go of their fear and take a walk. This, in turn, makes the dogs more adoptable, which completes our mission: The more dogs we get adopted, the more we save! Foster, or adopt, our dogs are ready for you!

Here are stories told from the students and the doggies themselves!

Daniel gets confidence

Daniel

Daniel at the shelter, with Pino in the background. Photo credit: (c) Dominik Fleischmann, www.mysilentkingdom.com

Daniel is one of the dogs that has made the most progress. At first, Daniel was scared and to go out. He always loved people and especially the younger crowd, but was not sure about leaving the shelter with people he had just met.

Daniel guards his crate

Daniel guarding his crate at the shelter. The dog’s crates are their “place:” where they sleep, feel safe, travel, and generally are allowed to do whatever they want. Photo Credit: Amy Ellis Instagram: @amykamala

Daniel was also scared of meeting stray dogs during his walks. Towards the end of the walks, there is always a pack of dogs that come to taunt and threaten us a little (they are a neighbor’s and completely harmless, but like to act like they own the street. Daniel would either stop, or walk very cautiously by. Now Daniel walks with his head high and with so much confidence. Plus, he loves to go out!

Daniel walking

Daniel walking with his buddies Amos and Pinto.

David Ayuso, President of Patita Amiga, adores Daniel and gives him a walk whenever he comes to volunteer:

“The first time I tried walking Daniel was difficult because he did not know me and he was very nervous. I particularly remember one time that the day was really hot and Daniel was tired halfway into our walk, but as soon as he recognize that we were going back home he started wanting to jog all the way back and I caved in. Good thing I brought my running shoes that day.” – David Ayuso

Daniel is ready to meet someone to take him home and love him forever!

Daniel walking

Salvador and Pino: Shelter staples get some special “me” time

Salvador and Pino have been at the shelter since they were puppies. They were in such bad shape when rescued, and had to stay in shelter care for so long, they just got used to the life. Now, they keep peace among the new rescues that come into the shelter. There is a lot of turnaround and these dogs basically get along with everyone.

Pino looking after the shelter.
Photo credit: Amy Ellis

Salvador at the shelter

Salvador watching over his shelter terrain.
Photo credit: (c) Dominik Fleischmann

They are also favorites to walk among the UPR students because they are so well-behaved, and calmer than the younger shelter crowd:

“When I first met Salvador, they told me to take it easy on him because he is suffering from cancer and also because the ages have downed in on him. However, as soon as he saw the leashes and stepped foot outside, he was radiating with life. Salva surprised me, because even though his life is not as healthy as other dogs, he is strong, determined and most importantly, happy. Walking him was a really wholesome experience; he loved it and if he’s happy, then I’m happy.” -Angely Cruz

“The first walk I ever did with Amigos de los Animales was with Pino, a beautiful rottweiler. To be honest I was a little nervous because it was my first time taking a dog that big for a walk. At first it was a bit hard to control him because of how strong he is, nonetheless, he is very obedient and by the time we were finishing the walk he was walking by my side without trying to pull me anywhere.” -David Ayuso

Patita Amiga group

The Patita Amiga group with their dogs, including Salva and Pino in the background.

Pinky’s first outing, first walk, and first view of the Ocean

Pinky and Pam are two pups that were found on a rocky ocean shore. Pam had a cut of her left foot which needed cleaning and constant supervision to ensure it did not get infected during the healing process. The siblings were rescued as puppies.

Pam and Pinky

Pam and Pinky at vet’s office immediately after rescue. Pam has the hurt paw.

Now Pam and Pinky are large, energetic black labradors. Their first “Shelter Outing” on a leash was actually their trip to get sterilized during November’s Spayathon in Arecibo. They both had an unforgettable experience: They both had to get up earlier than usual, take the hour and and a half drive to the event; get leashes put around their necks (which was a totally new experience for both of them), and where basically dragged through a 5-hour line, to the vetting area, where they were put to sleep, to wake up being sterilized. It must have been a shock!

Line at spayathon

The Spayathon Line. Pinky and Pam were not happy and were not even photogenic at this point!

About a week after their big outing, Pam and Pinky took their first real walk on the Boardwalk.

Pam was still a little scared. She was walking with her tail between her legs and pushing up on her brother. He (Pinky), on the other hand, was fascinated by the water and wanted to be and see everything at the same time. He did a great job though!

Pam and Pinky

Pam and Pinky walk the Boardwalk

Pinky also loves to continue to go out. Pam is a little more reticent, but we are working with her and will have her strutting her stuff in no time!

We are looking forward to our dogs walking in a Pet Fashion Show that will take place in December at Saint John’s School — a local grade school in the San Juan area. Hopefully some of pups will also get adopted! Visit all our dogs on our website or on Petfinder! If you cannot adopt, you can still help fostering a dog or fill out our volunteer application, and expressing interest in animal care, dog-walking, or socialization.